• Dec 20th 2007 at 2:28PM
  • 6

Mercedes' small cars, the A-Class and B-Class, have not been the runaway success that the German automaker had hoped they would be, partially due to high costs of production that drove retail prices up above their competitors. That's why Mercedes-Benz had been looking at forming a partnership with a rival automaker in order to reduce costs and produce more competitively-priced entry-level models. But after discussions were held with both BMW and Fiat, Mercedes has opted to go it alone.

Read more after the jump.

[Source: Inside Line]

According to CEO Dieter Zetsche, partnering with another automaker for the next-generation A and B would inhibit M-B's own strategy for the small cars. Benz's own program for the A and B classes would be based off a common platform, smaller than that of the C-Class, with front-wheel-drive and "high-mounted transverse-sited engines". Industry analysts suggest the next A-Class could be offered only as a three-door model, with the potential for a convertible version to follow. The B-Class variant, meanwhile, is expected to be bigger than the current model, about the size of a Volkswagen Touran minivan. Rumors are circulating that a third model is in the works, as well: a compact SUV placed below the upcoming GLK in the Mercedes line-up to battle the likes of the Volkswagen Tiguan and BMW X1. Since it won't be building the A and B without help from other automakers, Mercedes is back to square one when it comes to cost-cutting measures, and is reportedly considering building a lower-cost assembly plant in eastern Europe to mitigate production costs. Unfortunately, building new plants isn't that cheap, either.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      lacking sales can also be atributed to their after-though designs. there is nothing that sets them appart from the pack. if i'm buying a sub-compact from a luxury auto maker, i want it to look the part.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why does Autoblog make up things? Why does Autoblog not even both going to the Automotive News Europe database (which I know you guys have access to) and actually bother checking sales figures before running false information?

      And it is not as if this happens rarely. It happens almost daily. Check your facts. Simple rule of the media. The A-Class and B-Class sell just fine, with the B-Class easily haven exceeded it's sale expectations when it launched.
        • 7 Years Ago
        A and B class both sell pretty good.

        Heck, the C class is the only merc that sells better then the B-Class where i live.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I totally agree, I'm here in Belgium and the A class Mercedes is everywhere! It can't be doing that bad, although, if it's the cost of manufacturing that is killing them, that is a whole different matter.

        Why not get together with Renault or Citroen/Peugeot? Both are proven in the small car market.
      • 7 Years Ago
      MB is a lux car maker, not a sub-compact car maker, that is what SMART is for. Hence the $h1tty sales. The MB A-Class is the suicidal equivalent to the VW Phaeton. When will these people learn, brand image is built by the publics perception...not made by a manufacturers intentions. It's Marketing 101.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I find it a true shame that they're completely changing the concept of the baby Benz (A-Class). My mother owned the old model which was truly the car from hell, with a cheap ugly interior, a ride stiffer than a go-kart which would cause you to almost snap your spine over every bump, numerous electrical problems and many other issues. Despite all this my mother loverd it for its size and handling around town. The W168 was, for better or worse, a pioneer for its concept.
      Now she owns the current generation (A170 Avantgarde) which is such an improvement. It rides like a luxury sedan with its selective damping system and longer wheelbase, the good looking interior is serene and well manufactured and I actually think the W169 is quite a stylish car. It has become a Mercedes-Benz, if that even still exists since the demise of the W124 E-class. I won't deny it, I'm a Mercedes fan but I feel that one some cars they have gone a bit too far (the SLK, they spoiled the looks of the SL on the facelift model, and what the heck is that GLK??)
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